- The Wild Turkey is a true indigenous American.
- Adult males are called gobblers or toms.
- Female birds are known as hens.
- Each turkey has 5,000 and 6,000 feathers.
- Wild Turkeys are agile flyers who sail close to the ground.
- They can cover a quarter-mile distance each flight.
- Florida State University research suggest that First Nation tribes were raising turkeys as early as 1200-1400 AD: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161121111328.htm
- Early Native Americans only hunted turkeys for food in emergencies.
- Farming tribes kept wild fowl for insect control of their crops.
- Turkey feathers are considered powerful medicine.
- They are also used in making ceremonial cloaks and headdresses.
- In some tribes these birds are considered to be wily tricksters.
- In other cultures the turkey is characterized as shy and elusive.
- The Pina honor the turkey as a Rain Spirit that can predict weather.
- The Turkey Dance is important to the Caddo.
- Many tribes consider this bird to be a shamanistic medium between the sky spirits and the earth.
- Believing that turkeys acted as guides to the next world, many Southwestern tribes traditionally buried their dead in turkey-feather robes.
- Early European invaders killed as many as 100 fowl each day, hunting them almost to extinction.
- Programs to reintroduce these birds into the wild are starting to show promise.
- Benjamin Franklin admired the turkey for its modesty, alertness, self-reliance, and its ability to thrive of the land.
Native Languages of the Americas, “Native American Turkey Mythology,” at http://www.native-languages.org/legends-turkey.htm
Nature Almanac, “A Short Social History pf the Wild Turkey,” at http://www.naturealmanac.com/archive/wild_turkey/wild_turkey.html
Science Daily, “Native Americans raised turkeys long before first Thanksgiving,” at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161121111328.htm
Wikipedia, “Turkey (bird)” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_(bird)